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BILL EVANS: How My Heart Sings

Pettinger, Peter

300 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0300071930 / ISBN 13: 9780300071931
Published by Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, 1998
Condition: Very Good Hardcover
From Austin Book Shop (Richmond Hill, NY, U.S.A.)

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346pp. The life and career of acclaimed jazz pianist Bill Evans. With b/w photos. Bookseller Inventory # 28524

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Bibliographic Details

Title: BILL EVANS: How My Heart Sings

Publisher: Yale University Press, New Haven, CT

Publication Date: 1998

Binding: Hard Cover

Book Condition:Very Good

Dust Jacket Condition: Good Plus, Slightly Frayed DJ

Edition: First Edition

About this title


Bill Evans (1929-1980) is universally acknowledged as one of the most influential of all jazz pianists. Classically trained on flute, violin, and piano, Evans chose jazz - specifically the jazz piano trio - as his medium. This biography tells Evan's story. Based on research and conversations with many of Evan's friends and colleagues, as well as Pettinger's firsthand memories of performances at the Village Vanguard in New York and Ronnie Scott's jazz club in London, it describes the life, the musicmaking and the legacy of this major American jazz artist. The author asseses Evan's recordings and analyzes his technique, tone production, approach to group playing, and compositional methods. With a full discography and dozens of photographs, the volume should be welcomed by jazz fans and general readers alike.


Perhaps it was a white jazz musician's need to negate his very ordinary American boyhood, or maybe it was in the genes he inherited from his alcoholic father--no one can be quite sure--but Bill Evans, one of the most influential American jazz pianists ever, was a drug addict. He picked up his habit shortly after joining the Miles Davis Sextet in the 1950s, but it took Evans more than 20 years to be swallowed by the abyss of heroin, methadone, and cocaine. Sitting at the piano in the shadow of Davis, John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley, Paul Chambers, and Philly Joe Jones--the era's paragons of cool--could not have been easy for the retiring musician who suffered harsh ribbing at the hands of both bandmates and fans. Ironically, as the drugs distorted Evans's body and soul, his fingers coaxed ever more sublime music from his keyboard. Biographer Peter Pettinger was himself a professional pianist and a longtime listener of Evans, so he is expert at articulating the nuances of the music. He is perceptive too in exploring the forces that imbued in one life so much beauty and so much pain. The result is a book that is both a memorial to a burdened man and an homage to his transcendent music.

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